Chilled Plum Soup // A Thought For Food

I consciously took a week off from blogging. As much as I fought it, I think I needed a little break. Once again I was finding that I was putting pressure on myself to post because that’s what I’d grown accustomed to. That’s not a reason to blog. It’s not why I want to blog. So, I took a little time off. I’m back now and feeling pretty darn good about this space, the creative process, and, most importantly, the recipes I plan to share over the next few months.

There was a bit of an inner struggle about what to post. I knew I wanted to do something seasonal, but I felt like I’d covered all the bases recently with the dishes I’ve created using tomato, corn, cherries and berries. What was there left to do? I looked through the local market and saw these beautiful plums. I didn’t know exactly where it was all going, but I knew I didn’t want to do a cake. Been there, done that. Poached? Eh. Not really doing it for me. Ok, so cooked and then turned into something. A soup. Cold. That’s summer, but then, maybe, just a little hit of fall flavors. Cinnamon and ginger. This is one of those dishes I knew was going to work as soon as I smelled it cooking. Our whole house filled with the aromas that I find so comforting in the cooler months, and, yet, here we are with a chilled soup to enjoy during these last hot and humid days of summer.

Yogurt makes for the ideal garnish for a sweet soup like this, which needs a bit of tang to balance it out. In recent months, I’ve really grown to appreciate all the ways one can apply yogurt to a dish. For those interested in such a subject (believe me, I wasn’t at first, but now I’m hooked), my friend, fellow blogger, and cookbook author, Cheryl Sternman Rule, recently came out with Yogurt Culture. Just flipping through the book will have you rushing to the store to pick up a container.

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  • September 2, 2015 - 6:52 am

    Agnes {Cashew Kitchen} - Mmmm YUM! I’m kind of obsessed with plums right now, loving it!
    What a brilliant idea to make a cold soup out of them! Even if we definitely don’t have any warm summer days left here in Sweden any longer hehe :(

    I remember eating “fruit soup” in my childhood, served with cold milk and tiny almond button cookies. I think this soup will throw me all the way back to that childhood :)
    And what an interesting twist the tarragon! Gonna have to give it a try :)


  • September 2, 2015 - 9:39 am

    Naomi - I totally get you on blogger fatigue and the pressure to post. LOVE that you took a week off!

    I’ve never even thought to use plums for a soup – great idea. Love the yogurt addition.ReplyCancel

    • September 2, 2015 - 11:57 am

      Brian @ A Thought For Food - Yup… Needed a little break. But I can never stay away that long.

      This soup is totally perfect for this time of year. Fall flavors but totally refreshing.ReplyCancel

  • September 2, 2015 - 9:50 am

    Jason Sandeman - I love this soup! I have an Italian plum tree in my back yard that gives off so many plums in a year it is ridiculous. This is a great use of the many plums I would have there. I don’t like agave myself, but it’s all good, maple syrup would fit the bill just fine too!ReplyCancel

    • September 2, 2015 - 11:56 am

      Brian @ A Thought For Food - This soup was definitely a pleasant surprise. So fun that you have that tree… though I’m not sure what I’d do with all of them.

      Maple or honey would be perfect. :-)ReplyCancel

  • September 2, 2015 - 1:21 pm

    betty - Oh this is so pretty!! I’ve been downing chilled mung bean and chilled corn soups, but this plum one sounds amazing!! It just so happens I have a ton of plums in my kitchen… :) Thanks for sharing!

    PS that garnish!!!ReplyCancel

    • September 2, 2015 - 4:11 pm

      Brian @ A Thought For Food - Thanks Betty! Both the mung bean and corn soups sound amazing and something I’d totally love on this 90+ degree day.ReplyCancel

  • September 2, 2015 - 8:56 pm

    Tieghan - Brain, good for you for knowing when you need a break!! Honestly, that is a hard to thing to do, so I admire you for it!! :)

    Love, love, love the plums!! Totally creative and I am sure delicious!ReplyCancel

    • September 3, 2015 - 10:02 am

      Brian @ A Thought For Food - It was nice to have a mini break, but, as I’m sure you’re aware, it’s hard to stay away for too long.ReplyCancel

  • September 3, 2015 - 9:47 am

    Joanne - This is the perfect way to get me re-excited about plum season! And it’s totally gorgeous as always. Love the hint of ginger and cinnamon…perfect way to add a hint of fall flavors!ReplyCancel

  • September 3, 2015 - 10:38 am

    Heidi @foodiecrush - We all need a vacation once in a while to recharge, so good on you! I love fruity soups and can imagine this one with a few chopped pistachios on top. Looks gorg!ReplyCancel

    • September 5, 2015 - 2:58 pm

      Brian @ A Thought For Food - I think this one was my first fruit soup and I’m now hooked. I agree that some pistachios would be wonderful! Or maybe toasted hazelnut.ReplyCancel

  • September 4, 2015 - 8:36 am

    Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles - I use plums far too little in my cooking and baking, I just realized. Beautiful soup!ReplyCancel

  • September 6, 2015 - 8:36 pm

    Cheryl - B-R-I-A-N!

    I myself had a partial digital detox due to recent travels, and so I missed this lovely homage until just now. Thank you for sharing my book with your readers. Also, loving the fancypants yogurt spiderweb garnish. Well played, my friend!ReplyCancel

  • September 14, 2015 - 12:22 am

    Nik@ABrownTable - This is such a beautiful chilled soup, Brian! The colors, the flavors and the styling. Considering how hot it has been here, this soup would be the perfect way to stay cool. Also, Cheryl is awesome and so is her book :)ReplyCancel

  • September 15, 2015 - 9:14 am

    Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence - Gorgeous colors, flavors and swirl work! I can never seem to swirl like that 😉ReplyCancel

Buttermilk Biscuits with Mushroom Gravy | A Thought For Food

The moment came where I had to make a decision: do I go the easy route and bust out the food processor or mix the butter in by hand. Normally, I’d go with the former, but right now I feel like taking my time and getting my hands dirty. This is how Jessica does it in her book, Stir, and, having just finished reading it, I felt compelled to follow in her footsteps. Rubbing each cube of butter into the flour with my fingertips, I could focus on the feel of the dough and how it was forming. At the point it resembled a “coarse meal,” I picked up the bowl of buttermilk I’d mixed together (a combination of milk and white vinegar, because we rarely have buttermilk in the house) and drizzled it in as I circulated a wooden spoon.  When all was combined, I gave it a taste. As a cook, I can’t help but try uncooked dough before it hits the oven. This met all the marks: buttery, a touch of sweetness, and a hit of salt. While the biscuits baked, I mixed together the vegetarian mushroom gravy. We had some cherry tomatoes around, which gave the sauce some acid and sweetness. I’ve now made this twice for breakfast, though, I think it’d would make for a delightful dinner as well. Just throw together a light green salad on the side and you have a meal.

I should step back and talk about Stir a bit more. This was a book that I knew nothing about before its release. I didn’t know who Jessica was despite her living in Cambridge and being a fellow food blogger who created her site, Sweet Amandine, around the same time I did. But as soon as her book came out, her name kept popping up around the blogosphere. I marked it down on my books to read this summer and I’m so glad I did. This isn’t a cookbook, which she states very clearly from the start, though there are recipes. Instead, Stir: My Broken Brain and the Meals That Brought Me Home focuses a brain aneurism that she endures and the subsequent complications from the illness and corresponding procedures. But food has always played a powerful role in her life. Following her time in the hospital, she struggles to get back into the kitchen… so she turns it into a goal. If I can bake x, it means I’m still me. The writing is striking, personal and honest. But, most importantly, it’s inspiring. It made me think hard and deep about the important things in my life. And it made me want to get into the kitchen and make something, with my hands, and feed it to the people I love.
Buttermilk Biscuits with Mushroom Gravy | A Thought For FoodButtermilk Biscuits with Mushroom Gravy | A Thought For FoodButtermilk Biscuits with Mushroom Gravy | A Thought For FoodButtermilk Biscuits with Mushroom Gravy | A Thought For FoodButtermilk Biscuits with Mushroom Gravy | A Thought For FoodButtermilk Biscuits with Mushroom Gravy | A Thought For Food

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  • August 19, 2015 - 10:48 am

    Liren - Thank you for introducing me to Jessica, her blog, and her book! I have grown a special place in my heart for biscuits, and lately, I’ve also been enjoying using my hands – why does it feel more real that way? I love how you made a vegetarian gravy, too, Brian – I would sop it up very happily!ReplyCancel

  • August 19, 2015 - 10:52 am

    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar - That gravy is so delightful! I want to put it on everything from those biscuits to french fries! Yum!ReplyCancel

  • August 19, 2015 - 9:43 pm

    Tieghan - Oh butter by hand is the only way to go. Plus, I HATE cleaning my food processor, so I avoid getting it out at all cost. :)

    This looks insane!! Loving that gravy!ReplyCancel

  • August 21, 2015 - 8:26 am

    Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles - So when I think of mushroom gravy, it’s always of the creamy variety. I want to try this, with tomatoes. It sounds lovely!ReplyCancel

  • August 22, 2015 - 3:26 pm

    Sandra Lea - This is good ol’ comfort food. I am always happy to see a recipe for a vegetarian gravy. I can’t wait to try this but plan on waiting for the weather to cool down, I don’t want to turn my oven on right now. As you well know, the weather in the Boston area has been hot and humid lately.ReplyCancel

  • August 25, 2015 - 8:25 am

    Joanne - Stir has been on my reading bucket list also. It definitely sounds inspirational, but also the kind of book that makes you think! And want to get in the kitchen ASAP. I am so into this veg biscuits and gravy. Perfect for late summer/fall brunching!ReplyCancel

  • August 25, 2015 - 11:05 am

    Rebecca {foodie with family} - Stir is now on my “to-read” list! Biscuits are one of those things that are absolutely defining to my life, having grown up watching my grandma make her good, southern buttermilk biscuits my whole life, so this post really hits home for me. Always by hand. Always get the flour under your fingernails. Somehow the biscuits taste more like they should that way.ReplyCancel

  • August 25, 2015 - 12:03 pm

    Meredith in sock monkey slippers - Stir has been on my list so, it looks like it needs to happen soon. And this recipe! Hats off to you sir.ReplyCancel

  • August 28, 2015 - 7:01 pm

    todd wagner - Those biscuits look perfectly flaky! Comfort food at it’s absolute best :)ReplyCancel

  • September 10, 2015 - 8:37 pm

    Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence - When making biscuits, I like to use my hands to mix the butter. Pie crust, I use the machine 😉 Loving the vegetarian gravy here!ReplyCancel

Burrata with Cherries and Balsamic Roasted Peaches | A Thought For Food

My love for all things dairy, fishy, and eggy keeps me from full-on vegetarianism/veganism. Eric and I both agree that the best meal from our honeymoon wasn’t at the many restaurants we dined at, but, instead, the lunch we consumed together on a park bench in a small Provincial town. A baguette, the tupperware of tapenade, and a container of creamy, stinky cheese. The summer sun beating down from above. We moaned with every hunk of bread that was shoved into our mouths. Our heads shook side to side in disbelief at how something so simple could be so decadent and perfect.

When we dine out we’d much rather finish our meals with a cheese course than any chocolate creation that’s on the menu. After many disappointing endings to dinners at upscale restaurants (one exception being The French Laundry, which blew us away), when a cheese plate presents itself, that’s our dessert of choice. Which is why I ended up going the sweet route with this burrata. With all the recipes out there, I didn’t find many that treated it as a finale.

As I’ve said before, I’m not much of a baker and rarely prepare anything more than a quick, rustic crisp for dinner guests. So, I did what I feel comfortable doing and roasted some peaches with balsamic, which were drizzled over the cream-filled cheese, and topped with some chopped cherries and a buttery oat crumble.

Burrata with Cherries and Balsamic Roasted Peaches | A Thought For FoodBurrata with Cherries and Balsamic Roasted Peaches | A Thought For FoodBurrata with Cherries and Balsamic Roasted Peaches | A Thought For FoodBurrata with Cherries and Balsamic Roasted Peaches | A Thought For FoodBurrata with Cherries and Balsamic Roasted Peaches | A Thought For FoodView full post »

  • August 12, 2015 - 10:52 am

    Marla Meridith - I love this simple dessert idea…such a great idea to pair the burrata with roasted fruit.ReplyCancel

  • August 12, 2015 - 11:07 am

    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar - I love finishing (and starting) meals with a cheese plate too! This is a really unique way to use up summer fruit. Yum!ReplyCancel

  • August 12, 2015 - 11:31 am

    Gerry @ Foodness Gracious - Always the best meals, cheese and bread every time :)ReplyCancel

  • August 12, 2015 - 1:54 pm

    Liz @ The Lemon Bowl - I am so with you on the cheese course. This is the most perfect summertime dessert.ReplyCancel

  • August 12, 2015 - 11:36 pm

    Tieghan - The simplest is always the best and this is BEAUTIFUL! :)ReplyCancel

  • August 13, 2015 - 9:19 am

    Joanne - But it’s still acceptable to have this for lunch or breakfast right?! Because I see that happening.ReplyCancel

  • August 13, 2015 - 9:46 am

    Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles - What a gorgeous way to enjoy all this wonderful summer fruit. Love.ReplyCancel

  • August 13, 2015 - 9:53 am

    Nik@ABrownTable - I love burrata and you’re right this is probably one of the best ways to end a meal. It’s a delicate touch to a dessert such as this, which is perfect (BTW, I need to make it to the French Laundry at some point)ReplyCancel

  • August 13, 2015 - 1:31 pm

    dixya | food, pleasure, and health - being a chocolate and cheese lover, i cant ever decide on just boyfriends sister introduced me to burrata few years ago and we are hooked. this bowl looks delicious!!!ReplyCancel

  • August 13, 2015 - 10:27 pm

    Ben Maclain | Havocinthekitchen - Even though I usually opt for a chocolate dessert while eating out, I would easily dich and sophisticated chocolate dessert for this one! I mean, burrata, fruit, and lovely topping – just perfect marriage. Count me on, please:)ReplyCancel

  • August 15, 2015 - 6:50 am

    Currently Crushing On – aug 15 2015. | How Sweet It Is - […] right this very second i have a huge ball of burrata in my fridge and it must be eaten with roasted peaches and cherries. […]ReplyCancel

  • August 23, 2015 - 6:22 pm

    Claudia | The Brick Kitchen - Gorgeous! I have never used cheese in dessert but this looks like a perfect combination – will be giving it a go. xReplyCancel

  • September 2, 2015 - 7:48 am

    Chilled Plum Soup » A Thought For Food - […] like I’d covered all my bases recently with the dishes I’ve created using tomato, corn, cherries and berries. What was there left to do? I looked through the local market and saw these beautiful […]ReplyCancel

  • September 30, 2015 - 8:16 pm

    Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence - I tried going vegan for a hot moment, and cheese was one item I was really missing. Can’t give it up! And this is a wonderful example of why 😛 Burrata is just the best.ReplyCancel